Royal Society responds to the Independent Review of Net Zero

13 January 2023

Responding to the publication of the Skidmore Independent Review of Net Zero, Professor Sir Peter Bruce FRS, Vice President of the Royal Society, said:

“This important review recognises that not only do the benefits of delivering ‘net zero’ outweigh the costs of inaction - this could be the ‘economic opportunity of the 21st Century’.

“Seizing this opportunity requires all parties and sectors to have a clear vision of the road ahead. 

“The Royal Society has long called for an evidence-led UK technology roadmap to accelerate the rate of decarbonisation and guide investment to fledgling sectors and technologies that will be critical for delivering net zero by 2050. It is good to see this reflected in the final report.

“A roadmap would also help build cross-party consensus and provide consistency and whole-system thinking that the research and innovation sector needs. This was highlighted in the evidence we submitted to the review and was a major theme of the roundtables I co-chaired with representatives from industry, academia and the Society’s Fellowship. 

“The report rightly emphasises the urgent need for Government to increase the scale and pace of net zero delivery. That is not limited to implementation – research and development are our best way to answer critical questions about our changing climate and find new solutions. We must make sure that the different strands of delivery - from hydrogen to land use or data - are integrated across all economic sectors and departments and not limited by siloed thinking. 

“There is also recognition of the need to look outward. We should build on partnerships with the likes of Japan, Canada, and our closest collaborators in Europe, to drive research, build supply chains that underpin net zero technologies and galvanise public and private investment to limit further warming and protect nature.

“Now we must see the Government take forward these recommendations and work with the sector to deliver them.”